GIJN Member Civio: Fighting for Transparency in Spain

Access to public information, accountability and participatory democracy may have been a reality in many countries for some time — but in Spain they sounded like a utopia. Entrepreneur Jacobo Elosua and computer technician David Cabo decided that this had to change. Their brainchild, Civio, was just recognized with the Gabriel Garcia Marquez award in innovative journalism for its Medicamentalia investigation.

Stunned Open Government Community Searches for Solutions

December might be when thoughts turn to the holidays, but this year it’s also when anti-corruption activists and advocates for transparency and accountability came together at two major international events: the 17th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) and the 2016 Open Government Partnership summit.

What a Trump Presidency Means for the Media: A Reading List

Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has given rise to questions about credibility of traditional media outlets, the role of the media in shaping public opinion, and a changing media landscape. Even the future existence of free media as it is known today is a cause of concern for many in the media community if Trump’s attacks against the press during his election campaign are taken into account. GFMD has complied a selection of articles encompassing these wide-ranging issues.

How an Award-Winning Investigation Was Buried in Two Newsrooms

Earlier this month the Indian news site Newslaundry won a prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for a series of stories based on Right to Information (RTI) requests. The information — over 2,000 letters from Indian state-owned enterprises revealed how political leaders routinely misused up to US$15 million in public funds by asking for media ads or sponsorships for their pet organizations. Here’s the inside story of how the piece almost didn’t come to light.

Protecting Journalists Who Cover Corruption: Good For The Bottom Line

Corruption is one of the most dangerous beats for journalists, and one of the most important for holding those in power to account. There is growing international recognition that corruption is also one of the biggest impediments to poverty reduction and good governance. This is why journalists on this beat must be protected, including by multilateral lending institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

FOI Laws A Global Success Story

All around the world, very real benefits result when legal tools are used to obtain government information. Because there are so many frustrations for those who seek information, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the positive benefits. Freedom of information (FOI) reform advocates need to document and celebrate the victories.

Independent Media in Asian Democracies Battle Internet Rules

Independent news organizations in Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea are experiencing both direct and indirect challenges in cyberspace, from content blocking to censorship and self-censorship. Edgardo Legaspi, executive director of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, says threatened governments are “playing catch-up” after recognizing that the Internet can be an effective tool for voices to be heard.

FOI Requests in 11 Countries: Implementation Is Key

With freedom of information statutes in over 100 countries today, the laws have become a key tool for journalists from India to Mexico. But their success depends on how they’re used and implemented, as Swiss scholar Vincent Mabillard explores in his recent paper, Freedom of Information Laws: Evolution of the Number of Requests in 11 Jurisdictions. We are pleased to present highlights from his paper from the University of Lausanne.

What Makes Governments Resistant to Coups? Transparency.

The relationship between transparency and political stability in democracies is simple: More transparency means more stable democratic rule. As transparency rises, democratically elected leaders are less likely to be ousted through extra-constitutional methods like a coup. In non-democracies the situation is more complicated. But greater transparency still means fewer coups.